Apple Ends All Product Sales In Russia Over Ukraine Invasion

Apple has announced plans to stop all product sales in Russia, citing the nation's invasion of Ukraine as the reason for its decision. For the time being, individuals in Russia will no longer be able to purchase iPhones and other Apple devices directly from the company, though the gadgets will — for now, at least — still be available on the used market. The change is described as temporary by the Wall Street Journal, which received confirmation from Apple.

The official announcement comes days after Apple says it halted exports to Russia, though that's not the full extent of the company's actions against the nation. Going forward, Sputnik News and RT News will no longer be accessible to users outside of Russia through the App Store. Beyond these changes, some of Apple's services are about to be less useful for the company's customers in the region, particularly those who prefer mobile-based payments using the Apple Pay service.

Apple Pay limited in Russia

Apple said in a statement that it is "deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine," noting that it is "supporting humanitarian efforts" related to the war, as well as supporting its employees in Ukraine and "providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis." 

In addition to pausing sales and pulling the two news sources from its App Store, Apple revealed to the WSJ that it has already limited Apple Pay in Russia, which may make it difficult for users in the nation to make mobile payments using an iPhone or Apple Watch. Beyond that, the company has scrubbed live incidents and traffic from the Apple Maps service in Ukraine. It's unclear how long these changes, including the sales pause, may last.

The decision comes days after Apple received a letter from Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov in which he asked the company to cut its services and product sales in Russia. Fedorov had asked for harsher restrictions from the company, including entirely blocking the App Store in Russia, though Apple appears to have decided against such drastic actions at this time.

Apple isn't the only tech company to face pressure over its presence in the country, with others like Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet also receiving similar requests. US Senator Mark R. Warner expressed concerns over the potential "misuse" of popular social media platforms by Russia, including potential "overt and covert" use intended to "sow confusion and promote disinformation narratives" related to the war.

We've already seen steps taken to address this, including Google's decision to ban Russian state media from YouTube in Europe. For its part, the Russian government has lashed out at companies imposing restrictions, including partially banning Facebook access over the platform's restriction on certain Russian news sources.